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"Nsera", Fatoumata Diawara's afrofuturistic exploration of Mali

This single, first peak at the Malian icon’s next project, comes with a video guiding through Mali’s riches, directed by Grégory Ohrel.

“Nsera”, meaning destination in the Bambara language, is the newest ode to Mali’s landscapes, people, and colors by songstress Fatoumata Diawara. Led by the catchy, versatile sounds of Wassoulou folk music, she tells the beauty of her country. And for this title, she’s accompanied by Damon Albarn, a pop figure and leader of the Gorillaz, the famous British group she had already collaborated with in 2020 on “Désolé“. Two years ago, the last video was shot on Lake Como’s waters, but this time the intercontinental meeting takes place in Londonko; an imaginary world mixing traditions and modernity, ancestral memories and visionary ideas, vibrant colors, and dark images.

© Alun Be

The visuals, modern and afrofuturistic, are the work of French director Grégory Ohrel (who also worked with Bad Bunny, Residente’s “Bellacoso” and Orelsan and Ninho’s “Millions de problèmes”). Every shot beautifully unveils one of the many faces of Mali and Africa: a burning monument, reminding us of the country’s architectural heritage endangered by civil war, a bloody football, hinting at a deadly World Cup, a kid throwing away a firearm, a symbol of the many child-soldiers on the continent. But most importantly, it showcases marvelling views, the developing underground punk culture, a precious group of little girls performing ballet, and a man searching for love under a millennial Baobab … With “Nsera” Fatoumata Diawara and Damon Albarn celebrate a version of Africa where everything is possible, and where the future is bright.

Listen to “Nsera” in our Songs of the Week playlist.